By Faye Gaston
The ballot in the November 3, 2020, election will have citizens of Bullock County voting on whether to approve the referendum on selling the recreational drug of alcoholic beverages outside city limits all over the county on Sundays after the hour of two o'clock a.m. (all day Sunday). This would be for selling alcoholic beverages by retail licensees of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board for both on-premises and off-premises consumption.
On June 4, 2020, the Union Springs City Council approved the sale of alcoholic beverages on Sundays from 1:00 p.m. until 9:30 p.m.(after morning church services) within the city limits. State-run liquor stores are closed on Sundays.
These city and county decisions to sell alcohol on Sundays would override the "Sunday Blue Laws," the national Sunday laws already on law books across America and worldwide.
These prohibit Sunday alcohol sales. The United States Supreme Court ruled that the Sunday Blue Laws are permissible, and many states still have them. Thirty-two states impose restrictions on Sunday alcohol sales.
Numerous counties still have Sunday Blue Laws. Outside the United States, Nova Scotia and numerous countries in Europe, for example, Germany, have Sunday Blue Laws.
The United States Supreme Court has ruled that Sunday Blue Laws are not unconstitutional or discriminatory. This opens the way for all the present confused, contradictory local and state laws to be replaced by a national law that will standardize the enforcement of Sunday Blue Laws all over America.
In many states, the authority to enact a "Blue Law" is left up to local city and county governments. It was designed to enforce moral standards, particularly Sunday's observance as a day of worship or rest.
The Sunday laws have had a variety of names: Blue Laws, Sunday Blue Laws, Sunday-Closing Laws, and Sunday Statutes. These laws affected various activities on Sunday, ranging from liquor (recreational drug), to hunting, to car buying. Many Sunday Blue Laws are county and city ordinances, though some are statewide statutes.
In 1961, in the McGowan vs. Maryland case, the U.S. Supreme Court acknowledged the religious origins of the Sunday Blue Laws and held that they were constitutional. Much of the religious language had been removed from the statute, excluding a single remaining reference to the "Lord's Day."
The regulations sought to provide a day for leisure and family, not to impose a particular set of religious practices. This case's effect was to leave the regulation of Sunday activities to the states, resulting in a patchwork of rules that vary by county or city.
Sunday Blue Laws forbid most sales of alcohol on Good Friday and Easter Sunday, and while there are loopholes, they are not exactly easy to jump through. Under the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012, "no off-licenses are allowed to sell or deliver booze."
There is a new law in Alabama that allows local governments to skip state legislature when allowing alcohol to be sold on Sundays.
Thus, Bullock County citizens will be voting for or against the Bullock County Sunday Alcohol Sales Referendum on the November 3, 2020, ballot.